Saving Ninja https://thesavingninja.com Quietly saving, trying to become a millionaire without anyone noticing. Fri, 02 Jul 2021 08:27:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://i2.wp.com/thesavingninja.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/cropped-site-logo-no-bg2.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Saving Ninja https://thesavingninja.com 32 32 150195154 Savings Report #36 – 3 Years of Savings https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-36-3-years-of-savings/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-36-3-years-of-savings/#comments Fri, 02 Jul 2021 08:27:44 +0000 https://thesavingninja.com/?p=503669 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.



This is my 36th Savings Report.

I’ve been writing to you, every month, for 3 years in a row. Crazy, right?

Let’s use this anniversary to take a trip down memory lane…


I posted my first Savings Report in 2018 at 27 years old with £24,954 in total investments, £14,154 in my pension and £10,800 in my pre-pension accounts.

I owned my own home with my fiancee which we purchased a year prior as our first property and I personally held £26,628 in equity.

My total net worth was £51,583.

My first savings report! I’m hoping to do these once a month.

Savings Report #1

On my 13th Savings Report I reached £100k net worth on the same month I got married.

On my 18th Savings Report I passed my goal of having £100k invested in the stock market.

On my 36th Savings Report, this one, I reached £200k invested in the stock market, it took 1 year and 6 months to grow from 100k to 200k.


My biggest investment loss was in March 2020 which saw my portfolio drop by -13.35% at £14,613.

My biggest investment gain was in November 2020 which saw my portfolio increase by 11.04% at £15,294.

With interest and contributions combined, my portfolio grew an average of 4.88% per month, an annualised increase of 77.14%!


I shared on my 18th Savings Report that I would be taking an Algorithm specialization course in preparation for a year of trying to get into a large tech company.

On my 24th Savings Report I shared the news that I’d be moving to Sweden to start working for my dream employer.

On my 26th Saving Report I posted for the first time after expatriating from the UK to Sweden.

In 3 Years…

Net worth: £51,584 → £259,287

Pension: £14,154 → £124,270

Pre-Pension: £10,800 → £78,835

House Equity: £26,628 → £56,183

Got married ✓
Dream job achieved
Left the UK

What will the next 3 years bring?

Reverting Back to GBP

As you may have noticed, I’ve changed everything back into GBP from dollars. I was fed up with having to convert everything in my head back into pounds every time I looked at it, it was creating a kind of disconnect from my savings. So, even though most of my earning and investments are in dollars and Swedish Krona right now, I’ll be converting it into GBP automatically on the spreadsheet.

However much I don’t want to be British, I need to just come to terms with the fact that my brain works in British pounds!

I’ve still kept the multi-currency display for dollars and euros with the ability to change it in the Super Spreadsheet.

Our First Harvest

Our garden is looking beautiful right now.

We’ve had a lot of problems with slugs, caterpillars, and black flies, but the Ninja household took each problem as they came and solved each one. We’re now starting to get some bountiful harvests.

Calculating my Expenses

I wanted to make a new budget when our expenses settled down after moving into our Swedish property last April, but everyone is so ‘Lagom’ here that they’ve not even bothered to send us our bills yet.

I’ve even rang the internet company half a dozen times asking if they have all of my details and why they haven’t sent us a bill? They’re awful.

Imagine having to beg a company to charge you in the UK? All of these bills will probably come through with a big bang at the end of the year when they finally decide to do some work.

We finally received our first electricity bill which was a lot higher than we were expecting. In Sweden the main bulk of your electricity for each area is provided by one monopoly, in my case Eon for the ‘line charge.’ This came to around £70 last month and it’s mostly fixed, we’ll have to pay another fee on top of this for usage but we can change that company and I shopped around for the cheapest deal (they’ve yet to send us the bill…)

Even though we haven’t had all of our bills fully through yet, I think we have pretty solid idea of expenses so I’ll do the budget spreadsheet soon to figure out our true outgoings (or close-to-true.) Then Mrs SN can start investing again and I can be sure that the 36,000 SEK I’m contributing each month isn’t too much.

Monthly Round Up

  • Espanso snippet manager
    • I spent years trawling the internet for a free text expander that wasn’t absolute rubbish. I’ve finally found the one!! This piece of software is incredible and very intuitive. It allows you to save any kind of text behind a keyword and whenever you type that keyword, it will print, no matter where you’re typing. The settings are handled beautifully in yaml and it even has a brew install option.
    • Remember a few reports ago I said I had a trial writing an article for a popular coding tutorial site? I used Espanso exclusively for wrapping HTML tags like:

      ;bold for <em></em>

      and

      ;link for <a href=\"\" rel=\"noopener\" target=\"\\_blank\"></a>

      It saved me a bunch of time. You can also text expand with scripts and in-built functions like <date> and <time>, the possibilities are endless!
    • And it’s cross-platform!! And FREE!
  • My work is providing a Herman Miller chair and standing desk for my home office, posh.
    • I always wanted to try these legendary chairs, but my frugal sentiment never took the plunge. Now I’ll have one bought for me, yay for not having a dodgy back!
  • Esparanto
    • A language created to be a universally spoken second language which can be learned in one hour. How friggin cool? I might pick this up on Duolingo.
  • Pod cooling mattress
    • A water cooled mattress with its own water pump that can heat and cool you. This is perfect for me as I always want to be cold in bed. Why does America have all of the coolest things?
  • GitHub Copilot
    • The future of coding is here. An AI pair programmer which can help you spot mistakes and suggest solutions as you code. Created in collaboration with OpenAI. Are we one step closer from robots taking over programmers jobs? I better get to my FIRE number quick. Sign up to the beta with the link above.

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Savings Report #35 – I’m Turning into a Spendy Pants https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-35-im-turning-into-a-spendy-pants/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-35-im-turning-into-a-spendy-pants/#comments Sat, 12 Jun 2021 07:30:00 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503634 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

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Hello guys!

This is the latest I’ve posted a monthly update in almost 3 years. Sorry about that.

I’ve been experiencing some site outages due to going above 100% CPU on my free Google Cloud hosting tier. This started randomly happening so I was reluctant to upgrade to the standard tier. I also don’t yet have a desk set up at my new place so I don’t have access to my work station where I would normally manage this website. This somewhat delayed the update.

I seem to have got it under control now, but I’ll be leaving the 5 second delay to connect to the site switched on for the time being. When I have my workstation set up, I’ll be trying to migrate to a GeneratePress theme which is a lot more speedier and modern.

My long term plans are to build the website myself and switch to static hosting. This will mean comments will be gone eventually, but I think that Twitter is good enough for interaction.

Anyway, back to the Savings Report! Better late than never.


My companies stocks dipped very low this month and I know that they should be worth much more so I took my emergency fund and invested around £10,000 into them.

I know this goes against all conventional wisdom, but I’m genuinely excited about their future plans so I thought that if I hold long term, I should be fine. The stock increased by about 10% in a few days.

I have a little over 4 years left for my companies stock to grow by 100% for a big share scheme payout (this is different from the £10k I just bought personally) so I got a little disheartened when it dropped to lower than the price it was when I joined, but there’s still plenty of time left, so here’s to hoping!

I also increased my regular monthly investments to 36,000 kr (currently about £3100,) the Swedish government is paying me back around £6,500 in overpaid taxes in June so I’m going to use that to refill my emergency fund a little faster.

More Frivolous Spending

We spent around £1,850 on Kayaks this month!

As we live in the archipelago of Stockholm, we thought that we should enjoy our time in Sweden to the upmost and explore the islands via kayak. We even got some camping equipment so we can make the most out of Sweden’s ‘Freedom to Roam’ and go on some long kayak and camping trips.

As we don’t own a car, these babies are the next best thing.

Is Sweden turning us into spendy-pants? It could just be the change of scenery, or the fact that my net worth is now around a 1/4 of a million quid. Or maybe it’s because I’m not rushing to FIRE anymore? I enjoy my job and I don’t have a terrible 3 hour round-trip commute.

Who knows, but at least this was one of the goals that I wanted to achieve, to spend more money, remember the guest post I wrote for Mr1500?

But I should try to turn the tap down a little bit, since moving to our new place last April we have spent:

  • £1080 – LG CX 55inch OLED TV
  • £650 – Second hand Kawai ES8 electric piano
  • £1850 – Two Kayaks and accompanying equipment
  • £250+ – Wood and soil for multiple raised beds for growing vegetables
  • £3000+ IKEA/other furniture for our new place (we had to get everything!)

That’s almost £7,000. But I have split this with Mrs SavingNinja so I guess you could call it £3,500.

It’s still an awful lot of money, more than we’ve ever spent, but we did have to buy literally everything here; in the UK we lived mostly with hand-me-down furniture from the in-laws. But this spending has led to a nice realisation: these purchases have not really affected my ability to invest.

Now that I’ve actually spent a fair whack of money and seen that the world isn’t falling down around me, I don’t think I’ll feel as bad when buying small things anymore, maybe I’ll even be able to buy one of those expensive motorway service station sandwiches eventually without feeling terrible.

If we ever did move back to England I know that I’ll feel like everything is an absolute bargain after being exposed to the 4 X prices of Sweden. There was no better place to move to forcefully increase my spending (although I didn’t think I’d buy more things in general!)

Monthly Round Up

  • DeFi investing
    • I’ve been looking into decentralised investing this month, or DeFi for short. It’s technology that uses the blockchain to create an investing platform that is not owned by anyone, but a collection of people on a decentralised platform – or so it should be!
    • I actually invested around 1000 GBP into it to try out a technique called yield farming, this is where I’m effectively the lender to people wanting to borrow and I earn these weird coins as a reward for providing my liquidity to the platform.
    • Not impressed so far, there are so many different skins of websites because there is zero regulation. Seems a bit like a Ponzi scheme backed by a decent idea. As everything is ‘decentralised’ how are people meant to choose the best platform? There are no regulations and no laws.
    • Platforms I’m ‘invested’ in so far are Cream Finance, Shushicoin, and Bao
    • I wouldn’t recommend this as to the cost to execute trades on the Etherium blockchain is ridiculous, my investment instantly dropped to around $700 just because of transaction fees, and it would be a similar cost to withdraw it.
  • Heroku
    • I found out about this awesome service this month when I wanted to host an email-bot server for Slack. Heroku lets you run tiny servers for free and you can set them up (or clone them) directly from GitHub. Whenever you push to GitHub, the server gets redeployed. It’s the easiest I’ve ever found setting up a server, and it’s free.
    • I’ll be using this for mini projects like Slack bots going forward!
    • The cool thing about it is even if you don’t know much about server development, you can find another Heroku server which does something similar to what you want to accomplish, fork and clone it in seconds, then just edit your project via git to change little bits. Super easy.
  • Web Alert
    • I’ve been trying to buy a 30 series GPU to try out crypto mining. Due to the current shortages I needed something that monitored stock statuses. Someone at work recommended this nifty little app. You can load a website and click on any HTML element and it will refresh it every 5 seconds and let you know when it changes, it will even keep previous revisions, and it’s free. So cool!
    • If I ever need to monitor stock or keep revisions of websites I’ll be sure to use this in the future, it’s been working really well so far. It’s really cool how your phone is the server too, so there is no cost to them to provide the app (unlike the other GPU stock tracking software which pings you and requires servers to run.)
  • Reddit Lore
    • I stumbled upon a the concept of ‘Reddit Lore’ which led me to a huge old Reddit post titled: Throwaway time! What’s your secret that could literally ruin your life if it came out?
    • This post is from 9 years ago and went down in Reddit history coined as the biggest and most disturbing Reddit post of all time.
    • It took me weeks to read it all, but it was worth it. Some of the commenters revealed shocking secrets, but what makes the post cool is a lot of them came back to their posts and edited them years later with updates. A few even came back every couple of years to post an update. I’ve never read anything quite like it and it highlights how unique Reddit is.
  • Tuplas
    • I fell down another Reddit rabbit hole describing ‘Tuplas.’
    • These are completely separate entities a person can forcefully create for themselves who will behave completely independently from your own consciousness. Although it hasn’t been scientifically proven yet, people have argued that these are what imaginary friends are when you’re younger as it’s easier to create a ‘Tupla’ when your younger.
    • Read through some posts on the Tupla subreddit if you dare or try searching through some wikis and YouTube.
    • It’s all very interesting, I read one post that explained how God could be a Tupla for many religious people, when they have an epiphany or ‘holy experience’ where ‘god spoke to them,’ this could just be a Tupla that they’ve created in the form of their God. The ‘proven’ theory behind forcefully creating a Tupla shares many things with religious ceremonies (prayer which is like meditation, reaffirming the belief that he is real, continually giving attention to this figment of your imagination.)
    • I don’t think I’ll be trying to make a Tupla any time soon to see if the theory deserves merit, interesting nevertheless.

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Savings Report #34 – Adding a New Property to the Portfolio https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-34-adding-a-new-property-to-the-portfolio/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-34-adding-a-new-property-to-the-portfolio/#respond Mon, 10 May 2021 07:30:00 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503619 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.


In April we moved to our new property in Sweden, we detailed the full account in last months Savings Report. This month, it was time to add my new house equity onto the SN Super Spreadsheet.

Our house in Sweden cost us 3,495,000 SEK, which equates to roughly £300k. We paid a 15% deposit (the minimum here,) so £45k; and we split it equally. That’s where the additional £22,500 in ‘Total Property Equity’ is coming from in the spreadsheet, my half.

Adding that to my existing house equity from our home back in the UK and it brings my total property equity to almost £56k, nearly on par with my Pre-Pension Pot and it brings my total net worth to £236k, staggeringly close to my original FIRE target of £300k which I set when SavingNinja began.

I still don’t know how much we’ll have to pay for bills in this new place, as soon as we find out I’ll be vigorously ramping up my monthly savings again to try to re-compensate for lost time, my goal was originally to hit my lean-FI target before I turned 30; this gives me 8 months.

They Grow so Fast

Remember those baby tomato plants we planted 2 months ago?

Here they are now:

They’re huge! And taking up most of our living room. Sweden has had an unseasonably cold April so we’re waiting for another few weeks before putting them in the raised beds outside.

Home Sweet Home?

It’s starting to feel a little more like home here after the move last month. We had our final IKEA order arrive last week and now all of our clothes have a place to live. The office section of our bedroom is almost clear, although I’ll be sitting on the sofa while working for a while longer as in June, my company is sending everyone ‘premium’ desks that can switch to a standing position along with ergonomic chairs, so I thought it would be best to wait for this rather than buy my own one now.

There haven’t been any other association meetings since last month, we have met quite a few of the neighbours though and they’ve all been really nice. Surprisingly most of them are mid-thirties, in tech, with young toddlers and we have quite a lot in common, other than the babies!

Everyone told us that Swedish people won’t be friendly or neighbourly, but we were more friendly with our Swedish neighbours in a week than we were for over 3 years in our UK property. I’m guessing the forcing of us being in an association brings us together, or it could just be because we lived in a shitty maisonette in the UK with dodgy neighbours.


There’s not much more I want to talk about this month. I feel like it’s gone so quickly because we spent most of it unpacking!

There are a couple of posts I’d like to make soon, it’s been a long time since I posted anything but savings reports, these will be:

  • Being a landlord, the financials
  • Cost of living in Sweden
  • Our Composting Journey and Living Without a Bin (Mrs SN)
  • My experience with yield farming in the DeFi space

How was your month?

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Savings Report #33 – Keeping Up With the Johanssons https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-33-keeping-up-with-the-johanssons/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-33-keeping-up-with-the-johanssons/#comments Sat, 10 Apr 2021 08:09:15 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503599 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.


The stock markets had a bit of a resurgence, although they’ll probably drop again next month. I passed £200k net worth. But all of this reporting is getting a bit mundane, don’t you think?

It was a little more exciting when I was contributing more heavily and seeing my stash grow by huge amounts each month, but now it almost feels like observing a wave coming in and out, or reporting the weather. But it’s worse because I don’t track the markets, I have no idea why they’re going up or down, I just look at my numbers like a good passive investor, so there’s not much I can say other than, “Looks like they’ve gone up again this month.”

I do enjoy writing my journal entries each month though, so I don’t want to stop these monthly ‘reports,’ although I might skip the financial commentary unless something spectacular happens from now on, but still upload the above financial snapshot image.

We Own Two Houses

“We own property in multiple countries.” Sounds posh, eh?

We’ve effectively moved ‘out to the sticks’ in Sweden, about 1 hour north of Stockholm. This is fine for me as I’m now fully remote, but it’s a bit of a nightmare for Mrs SavingNinja as she has to get 3 busses into work. She’ll be trying to switch careers into something which she can eventually do remotely this year. If she’s successful, we’ll be truly untethered from a single location and we can pick our perfect spot in the world.

The location we’ve moved to is really beautiful, all of our neighbours own multi-million pound mansions with their own private jetties, as theFIREstarter said to me, I have to be careful not to fall into the trap of ‘keeping up with the Johanssons!’

I feel like we’ve bought a shed in their back garden.

We feel happy here, but I seem to always have the feeling of impending doom deep in my gut, maybe this is just my natural state?

Here’s how the first week went…

Easter Weekend

We rented a van for 2 days to move out of our Stockholm apartment and do some big shops. The move went well but it was a mad rush to do everything as we also purchased SEVENTY bags of soil and a bunch of wood to make our raised beds, we haven’t put them up yet… We’re thinking our maths must have been wrong, surely we don’t need this much!?

They’re now sitting outside of the house waiting for better weather

Monday

We built a compost bin out of pallets that we found on our street.

We don’t plan on paying the £50 per month to have our bins collected. Especially because this doesn’t even include recycling, we have to take all of our cardboard, plastic, metal, glass etc to a recycling centre no matter what (it’s crazy there is no service!)

So, we came up with the brilliant plan of recycling all of our food waste into this compost bin, Mrs SavingNinja did a lot of research before moving here and we’ll hopefully be fine. We plan on throwing some things down the toilet, like stuff picked up from the hoover and left over cat food, but all food waste and cardboard will go into the compost and everything else will be recycled. If there is a small amount of waste we just can’t get rid of, Mrs SavingNinja is going to have to take it into work in a small bag to dispose of secretly!

Side Note: All of our neighbours must think we’re crazy-green people as we’re the only people in the association of 12 houses without a car or bin collection. Little do they know that we’re just tight frugal.

Tuesday

Our big IKEA order arrived with our bed (we’d been sleeping on the floor up until this point,) sofa, kitchen table, one storage unit, and some other bits. We spent most of the day assembling.

This produced another side-affect; a lot of cardboard and plastic. We decided to take our first trip to the ‘local’ recycling ‘centre.’ We filled up a box and a couple of IKEA bags and started walking, after getting past the two neighbours that offered to take it for us whilst giving us weird looks, we were on our way!

The Swedish authority recycling map said it was a 10 minute walk away, which it was, ish. But there was another problem, the map had failed to tell us that it was only a ‘centre’ for cardboard… And it was already full and overflowing. Ahhhh…

The closest center which takes all recycling is a 30 minute walk away.

This kinda sucks, I thought we were living in a green country? They don’t have any service to collect recycling and they just expect you to own a car?

We stuffed the cardboard into this one bin as much as we could and hauled everything else back to the house.

We purchased a…£100…bike trailer (cheapest we found,) for online delivery which should come in a week’s time. Hopefully this will make our recycling problem more bearable as it cuts the 30 minute walk into an 8 minute cycle, which isn’t too bad. If we have to get a car I’m going to be sad.

Wednesday

Organising the house, trying to put some clothes away in our one set of drawers, we also built a small shed behind the house to put tools etc. in.

We bought the bricks and shed when we had our van!

This was also the day we had our first ‘association’ meeting. Nothing prepared me for how weird this would be. There are 12 new build properties on this plot and we’re all part of an ‘association’ so we pay about £180 per month to a pot to cover the grounds, buildings, and other things of all 12 properties, kind of like ground rent in the UK for a flat, but all 12 families manage it themselves through meetings.

The estate agent told me that we’d be able to do anything that we liked to the garden as long as it isn’t permanent, e.g. make raised beds, put sheds up, as long as there is no concrete foundation. But in this meeting everyone was asking permission for everything, apparently you need permission from the local authorities (and the association) to even extend your decking. We’d already built a huge compost bin on our garden boundary by this point, and bought the materials for 4, rather large, raised beds.

We didn’t say anything, and we’re hoping we can just ask for forgiveness afterwards. It’s going to get pretty hairy if they say we need to ask for permission.

What followed was them deciding on a colour we should all conform to for awnings. And then deciding on what specific building numbers to get and saying everyone needs to buy them with their own money, after shooting down a couple who had already bought their house numbers and saying that they’re too hard to see. It seems they want us all to be identical clones.

This isn’t really the type of people we are… We want to be alone in the woods, not involved in all of this politics which seems to be happening in just the first meeting.

Thursday And Friday

We spent the last two days of our week off on making another IKEA order and continued organising. We still had a lot of furniture we needed to get and we wanted to make sure we got it right as it’s impossible to return anything without renting a car.

What Have We Learnt?

Life is actually really hard without a car. It’s harder when you’re not in a city, and when you’re in Sweden.

Hopefully it will get a little better after we have settled in and fallen into a natural groove.

But this was always our half-way house, we’ll spend the next 2-3 years planning our next adventure whilst hopefully not getting too annoyed by the associations ‘rules.’ It’s a beautiful place, but not quite what we want long-term. The point of buying was to stop spending the ludicrous £1500 rent in Stockholm. The mortgage interest and bills only amount to around £500 between us here, at the cost of ‘locking in’ our decision for at least a couple of years.

I think it was the correct move, even if we have to get a car!

Random Thoughts

  • Life is a Picture – Wait But Why
    • I really enjoyed this post, I need to investigate the Ted Talk that he linked to as I certainly would benefit from more investigation into the happiness topic! It describes perfectly the notion of ‘The Grass is Always Greener’ and how most people feel this way, and it’s described in a humorous Wait But Why way.
    • Here’s the Ted Talk: The surprising science of happiness
  • Living a FI update
    • Really honest and raw post about how Living a FI’s life went after he retired 5 years ago. A sobering read which a lot of us FIRE-types would benefit from, life isn’t static.

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Savings Report #32 – I’m now a Farmer https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-32-im-now-a-farmer/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-32-im-now-a-farmer/#comments Wed, 03 Mar 2021 08:56:39 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503578 Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out...

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Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart

Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet.


The stock market has been a bit flat lately. In other news, I’ve started saving into a pre-pension account again, I’ve opted for 12,000 Kr per month at the moment which equates to around £1000; I hope to increase this as my personal financial situation settles even more.

Packing up Again

It’s now under a month until we move into our new Swedish property. We’ve begun packing up all of our belongings again, by this point it feels like a regimented process. The boxes that we’re using are the same ones that we used when moving from England, and then we used them again moving to this apartment after our 1 month short-term lease when we arrived in Sweden. This will be the third time! Some of them look a bit battered, but it’s nothing a lot of brown tape can’t fix, I’ll actually be a bit sad throwing them away.

This will be our first property with a garden, and a modestly big one at that. So, as it’s our dream to own a farm/ranch style property in the future, we thought we would use this one as a v0.1 to see if we like farming! We have absolutely no idea what we’re doing, and we’re unsure if anything will actually grow, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

To start things off, we bought a few seed starter pots and sowed beetroots, leeks, dill, sprouts, sprint onions, and San Marzano tomatoes. I love these tomatoes and they’re very expensive to buy in the supermarket, especially here in Sweden, so I planted a whole tray and a couple of other smaller ones with just these tomatoes. Remember, we don’t know what we’re doing here, I just like tomatoes…

It was only afterwards that I realised how much space even 1 tomato plant needs, especially San Marzano plants which can grow up to 5 feet tall! Bugger, I’ve planted 27 of them. My garden is going to turn into a tomato farm.

I figured out that we’ll need to build a raised bed which is 44cm high, 100cm wide, and 200cm in length to plant 8 of the tomato plants, we’ll also need to build some sort of trellis for them to cling on to. We’ll have a lot of building projects to do as soon as we move in as the plants will need to be transplanted not long after our move in date.

Speaking of construction projects, we also plan to build one of these:

And this sexy Swedish fence:

Good job I’m now working from home indefinitely now!

Random Thoughts

  • I passed my probation at work! There hasn’t really been an official ‘Well Done,’ as I was expecting, more of a, “Yeah, 6 months have passed, so your probation is over.” It’s silly how nervous people get over these things, but that’s a small weight off my shoulder at least, I’m now an official permanent Senior Engineer at a big tech company. Woohoo!
  • I’ve applied to become an author for a popular technical tutorial website, if I get the gig I’ll be writing an article every couple of months at $600 a pop. This can also lead to being an author of books released on the same website where the pay is a percentage of the profits. Hopefully all of this blogging will have prepared me enough for the writing side. I’m having a ‘Tryout’ in mid-April, wish me luck!
  • I’m going to be applying to a management position at work soon, this is the next progression step that I want to take. I’m also going to a leadership conference in April to prepare for the job. I’m hoping that by the end of the year, I’ll land, or be very close to landing, a engineering management position. But, I’m not going to doggedly pursue it like I normally do, I’m happy with the level I’m currently at, and I’m going to enjoy the ride, I need to stop focusing so much on progression and achievements.
  • I’ve been looking into Digital Gardening thanks to Mr RIP, check out this awesome explanation by Maggie Appleton. This led me down the path to setting up my own ‘Personal Knowledge Management’ (PKM) system in an awesome piece of software called Obsidian, I’m actually writing this post in Obsidian right now! The purpose of a PKM is to have your notes and documents linked in a knowledge graph so you can easily see and explore your thoughts, like a second brain. Watch this video if you want to learn more. It’s made me think that I want to turn these entries into more of a journal post rather than a financial report with a stipend of personal thoughts, more to be explored here.
  • I also found this cool shared bookmark tool when searching through productivity software, I’ve been meaning to sort out my messy bookmarks! Raindrop IO

Thanks for reading! How was your month?

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Savings Report #31 – I’m a Quarter of a Millionaire! https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-31-im-a-quarter-of-a-millionaire/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-31-im-a-quarter-of-a-millionaire/#comments Mon, 08 Feb 2021 08:30:00 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503559 This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split...

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This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split my expenses equally with my partner and the savings rate, house equity and house value represent my share only. The spreadsheet calculates my savings rate based off $20,000 worth of expenses per year, even though my expenses are actually Less Than 15k Per Year. This is to create a buffer; I’m aiming for at least 20k to reach financial independence.

Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart


I spent DAYS updating the Super Spreadsheet to support dynamic / multi currency. But looking at it now, I hate it. I guess when you’ve used a specific format for 30 months in a row, it’s hard to change.

My main salary is now in Swedish Krona, but I also hold a UK pension and ISA, and a large part of my new salary (in the form of stocks,) is in USD. So it kind of made no sense to continue documenting my net worth as GBP, and as of right now, I’m still smitten with the idea of eventually moving to the US, so the USD seemed like the best currency to convert everything to.

But…it’s weird, I’m used to tracking my net worth in Great British Pounds; this has been my yard stick for measuring my progress, I feel like I’m a little in the dark when just looking at dollars. For now, I’ve added a conversion next to the dollars for GBP so I can refer back to it until I (and you,) get my bearings.

So, yeah, I’ve blasted through my quarter of a million DOLLARS goal! Not quite as good as pounds, but maybe I can celebrate both achievements in this new, multi-currency, world?

Tech Debt

Of-course, now that I’ve moved countries, and currencies, this invalidated a lot of my pillar posts like My Journey to Financial Independence in the UK, in fact all of the history on that post is now a little weird and switches from GBP to dollars, should I just go ahead and update all of them?

Even the top section of these Savings Reports which states what my expenses are is now incorrect. I’ve changed ‘£12,000 worth of expenses per year’ to ‘$20,000 worth if expenses per year’ this is quite a bit higher than £12k, but it’s also, of course, plucked out of thin air as we still have no idea what our nominal expenses will be in Sweden. This also links to an article where I explain my ‘£12k a year expenses,’ which is now, also, wrong! There is a lot of tech debt to deal with, maybe I should be relying less on circular dependencies?

When will I hit FI Now?

Plugging my new $20,000 figure into the spreadsheets’ FI calculator, it states that I have almost 7 years to go. This has grown dramatically from the 19 months which is stated at the bottom of this website. Although, my years to FI formula is calculated based off the years’ average savings rate, which is currently not much, but should be increasing soon! When it does, my time remaining should drop again.

Meme Stocks

I never was against picking some stocks with a very small percentage of my portfolio. So, when I saw some Reddit posts on GME at $88 and then the day after it grew by 300%, I grimaced. I then threw £100 on AMC, BB, and Nokia and lost 50% almost instantly.

I’m taking the loss on the chin though. It’s still a very small percentage of my portfolio, and my thoughts are; I bought these as a hedge against another meme stock growing ridiculously. So I’ll either keep them until they triple in value, or go down to 0; knowing that I’m more than likely to lose it all. If one of them does ‘YOLO’ like GameStop did, I’ll use the profits from that for more risky r/WSB style punts.

Buying a Second Home

We’ve just signed the contract for our new Swedish house, and we hope to move in around April. We’re really excited to move into this place as it’s very unique. It’s actually smaller than the flat that we’re currently renting, but, it’s fully detached with a garden, and it’s only 4 minutes walk from the sea.

It’s actually a new build which comes with a top of the range kitchen, under floor heating, along with an iconic European metal roof which is sharply sloped to fend off the heavy snow falls.

We’re paying around £300k for it with a 15% deposit which is more than we’ve ever paid before. The house also comes with a £200 monthly union fee which covers the building and common area maintenance and insurance as is the style in most of these Swedish new build areas. Trying to navigate the Swedish paperwork, it seems this fee also contributes towards a mortgage which was taken out on all of the buildings (there are 12 of them,) so really the property costs more than £300k, but it’s hidden behind this community fee. When I calculated all of this, I thought the builders must be raking it in!! But, like most things in Sweden, tax is so high that it’s mainly the government that is raking it in.

What made me feel better about these fees is that this cost (the purchase price and monthly fee) is actually way lower than if we’d bought in central Stockholm, this place is about a 1h commute out of the city. We were considering some flats which were 30 minutes out of the city costing over £350k with a £350 monthly fee (although this fee did include electric and heating too.)

Working from Anywhere

Annoyingly, straight after we signed the contract for our new property, my employer announced a new work from anywhere initiative. Employees can now work from anywhere within their existing region (EMEA for me,) receive the same salary and they will contribute to the employees bills and office equipment, they’ll even pay for a co-working space if they don’t have an office where you choose to live. This marks the first steps toward a distributed-first work place, as I’m sure will become the new norm for a lot of people post-COVID.

This has proceeded to send us into options overload with thoughts like…”We can work from anywhere, why would we choose Sweden?” But due to Mrs SavingNinja still having an in-the-office job at a school, and COVID still restricting travel, not to mention that we’ve just closed on a house purchase, we are kind of ignoring this new information for now. We’ll settle for at least a couple of years whilst we plan our next course of action, but this certainly changes the future dramatically and will definitely warrant a full post!


How was your month!?

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2020 Reviewed – A Very Weird Year https://thesavingninja.com/2020-reviewed-a-very-weird-year/ https://thesavingninja.com/2020-reviewed-a-very-weird-year/#comments Sat, 23 Jan 2021 09:43:11 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503521 2020 has been a very weird year.  It’s been so weird that I even have to check myself to see if I’m not actually experiencing...

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2020 has been a very weird year. 

It’s been so weird that I even have to check myself to see if I’m not actually experiencing a very strange lucid dream.

The year started out relatively normal. I was excited for the year to begin after hitting my long awaited £100k invested goal. I was rested after having a nice Christmas break at the in-laws house. I wrote about how good I was feeling, how everything was ‘coming together,’ my parents were hoping to retire to Spain before 2021 after a stressful 50 years of working, I had vowed to study and apply for a dream job; I was raring to go.

Little did I know that within 3 months, I’d never go into London for work again, we’d be getting police warnings for having a picnic in the park, and the whole world would be locked down.

The Lucid Dream Began

When we were consigned to working from home in March, we were pretty damn happy. As you all know, we rarely went out to spend money, all of the things that we enjoy doing; hiking, playing video games, reading, were still mostly doable. In-fact, as a household, we’d be saving around £400 per month in commuting costs. It was a win-win.

We found ourselves having a lot more free time, so we filled it with baking and cooking. We made, for the first time; fresh pasta, pork-pies, croissants, cinnamon buns, paneer, and peshwari naan bread. Life was good.

Not forgetting about my 2020 goals, I used some more of our COVID-gifted free time to study hard for tough interviews. Then, the unbelievable happened: The moonshot that I was aiming for to get experience succeeded, a tech-giant wanted to relocate us out of the UK, in the middle of a pandemic.

The much more difficult (but way more exciting) option of getting hired at a tech-giant like Google or Facebook. This would also give me a much better chance of making it to the USA.

From 2019 Reviewed

A Virus Ridden Trip

In July, we set sail across Europe with our cat in tow, we’d packed up our lives and were relocating to Sweden so that I could work for my dream employer. The lucid dream got more surreal.

That brings us to today, we’ve been in our new home for 6 months, all sense of normalcy has gone, we’ve had to reset and re-calibrate. I’ve lost all will to study and write, our minds are still shaken up, what are we doing in Sweden?

2020 Financial Review

Despite the pandemic, my savings increased substantially. This was mainly due to the hugely inflated contributions at the beginning of the year where I was saving between £7000 and £8000 for 5 months. However, this almost stopped completely as soon as I found out we were relocating to Sweden.

Let’s take a look.

  • £193,383 Networth (+£58,493)
  • £160,021 Excluding House (+£56,162)
  • £46,905 Contributed
  • £11,590 Interest Earned
  • £106,652 Pension (+£43,345)
  • £32,397 Contributed
  • £10,948 Interest Earned
  • £53,191 Stocks & Shares ISA (+£15,273)
  • £11,000 Contributed
  • £4,273 Interest Earned
  • £178 Other Investments (-£2,455)
  • £178 Contributed
  • £5,611 Interest Earned
  • £33,362 House Equity (+£2,331)
  • £2,331 Contributed

There has been an overhaul to the Super Spreadsheet again, that’s one of the reasons for this review post being so late! I’ve added the ability to input and track multiple currencies, I know that this is probably not a very desired feature for most of you, but it was needed for me as I now have savings in Swedish krona, British pounds, and US dollars. One cool new feature is that you can easily switch currencies to see what your FIRE fund looks like in another country. I’ll be posting an update soon to explain how you can use the new spreadsheet.

Subscribe to SavingNinja to get access to all of the same juicy charts for personal use.

Financial Growth

My networth increased by 43.36% this year at £58,493. This is actually lower than last year’s growth which was £69,262, but the percentage difference is lower still as 2019 stood at a 175.46% increase. As I stated in my 2019 Reviewed post, I’ll probably never see growth like that again.

My accounts now stand at £193,383 networth and £160,021 excluding-property. I’m hoping that I’ll soon be able to reach the £250k networth and £200k invested goals, but I’m sceptical of this happening in 2021 as I’ve yet to begin saving properly again.

I filled my ISA by £11,000 and it grew by £4,273. I won’t be saving into an ISA anymore as the tax-free status is void now that I’m not in the UK. I’ll be saving into a Swedish ‘ISK’ instead which is their (slightly worse) version.

I contributed £32,397 into my pension and it earned £10,948 in interest. The gap between my pre-pension and pension accounts will grow increasingly larger as I move forward due to workplace contributions and moving country. It’s a good job too as a pension seems to be the only thing that persists when relocating due to pension treaties.

Last year, I was happy that I’d reached £100k total investments, this year, my pension alone is worth more than that! It’s pretty awesome to think that no matter what happens in life, I’ll still have a healthy pension when I retire.

If I don’t contribute anything into my pension again and I withdrew it at the age of 60, with an average growth of 6% per year it should be worth £658,585. If I continue to contribute £3000 per year from workplace contributions (right now my workplace is contributing £1000 per month,) it will be worth over £1m.

This golden-retirement was mostly from heavy contributions for the 2.5 years that I worked at my last company as that workplace pension account alone has over £95k within it. It’s crazy when I think that I theoretically ‘completed’ my pension in only 2.5 years, never having to think about it again. I’ll also be able to avoid the super tax as all of my further contributions will be earned in different countries.

This chart illustrates the heavy investments that I bought at the beginning of the year, which then almost completely stopped. I didn’t see the interest gain traction for those investments until November.

You can see from this chart that my portfolio was in fact down for the year all of the way until November, but ended the year being £11,590 up. Contributions still vastly outweighed my investment gains, although I suspect this will change in 2021 due to a very low contribution amount.

Here’s how my investments have grown over time. In March due to the huge drop, my total portfolio was down by over £12,000! Although that quickly recovered and as it stands I’m £21,371 up since I began investing in mid-2018. Which brings my total investment gain since the beginning to 17.23%.

This is probably my favourite new chart. It shows the total earned via contributions and interest stacked for each of my accounts. You can see that in March, whilst still being above water in total, my pension and ISA interest earned was pushing my iceberg down quite a lot, although it soon bobbed back up in the later months. My ‘other investments’ remains below water as I withdrew my Tesla earnings in August and they’ve yet to be reinvested as I’m saving them for my Swedish house purchase (which should be happening soon!)

Looking Ahead

It’s very hard to predict how much I will have invested in 2021, which sucks, I’ve never felt this blind since I began my FIRE journey. We’re currently looking at property to buy in Stockholm as it is a lot cheaper than renting. And with the 15% deposit that we need, along with all of the costs of moving and furnishing a new place, I’ve halted my monthly saving with the hope of not being completely skint when we buy.

As it stands I have around £60k waiting to be used for moving, and depending on what we purchase, this may all be needed for a deposit, which will leave us with very little, or nothing at all for purchasing a bed, sofa, etc. (Were in a furnished rented apartment at the moment.) If we have to use all of that for a deposit, we may even have to take a small loan from family or the bank to allow us to buy some furniture. Either that, or sell some of my ISA investments. This may actually not be a bad idea as Sweden will normally want a 30% cut of any ISA profits when I sell, but if I only sell and move in a little, it may go unnoticed.

As soon as we’ve bought a place and furnished it, I’ll know how much I can safely start saving again, although we’ll also have to refill our emergency funds; this may mean that we save almost nothing this year, which absolutely sucks. At least I have a decent enough amount invested to not feel too left out when the market grows.

Goals Achieved

Below are my goals from 2019 Reviewed.

1. Reach £200k total net worth (C)

So close!! My spreadsheet tracks my networth as £193k, although I did withdraw around £9k from my ‘other investments’ which will be reinvested in the form of house equity soon, this would push my net worth to above £200k. So, I’ve marked this as a solid C for effort.

2. Complete a 6-month Coursera Specialisation in Algorithms (A++)

I completed this course, it’s now a shiny certificate on my LinkedIn profile. This course kicked off my further learning into advanced Computer Science theory and is what landed me my dream job! Here’s the course if you want to do it yourself.

3. Apply to at least 2 tech-giant companies (A)

OK, I didn’t apply to 2, I applied to 1… But the first company hired me. I don’t think I thought about that eventuality when writing this goal, so I’ve awarded myself an A!

4. Get a new job which is higher pay / in leadership / a tech-giant (A++)

This goal was knocked out of the park!! I landed a senior tech-giant role with higher pay and the prospect of leadership very soon. A++.

4. Go on more than 1 holiday (A)

This is pretty funny that I set this goal and then COVID hit. I did, however, manage to go on a Christmas holiday to northern Sweden. And moving to Sweden in-itself was a holiday as we stayed in Belgium, France, and Germany whilst traveling here.

Goals for 2021

Alright, what do I want to achieve this year?

1. Apply to at least 2 management positions

I’ve set myself up on the path to becoming an Engineering Manager, and I want to apply to at least 2 positions this year, preferably more. Or, of course, apply to less and get the role. The reason I want to go down this path is two-fold; One, I think I’ll enjoy it. I’ve always been enjoyed talking with people and optimising approaches/methodologies, and the servant-leadership model of managers at my company seem like the perfect fit to my personality. And two, getting relocated and a Green card in the USA is a lot easier when you’re a manager and using an L1A Visa, you can even get citizenship within 1 year, instead of the usual 4+. Moving in this direction is also a lot easier than moving further along from Senior in the technical progression ladder.

2 Become comfortable at my new company

Becoming comfortable and feeling at home in my new company has been a slower burn due to COVID, but I’m getting there. I’m hoping that after this year, I’ll really feel like I fit in and stop feeling like an imposter. I need to make sure that I continue to study the systems at my new place and that I don’t get docile, which is very easily to do when working from home; otherwise I’ll run the risk of never feeling like I fit in.

3. Start saving at least 50% of my salary again

I’m really hoping that at some point this year I’ll be able to start saving again. 50% has been plucked out of the air because I’m still not sure what our eventual savings will look like when the dust settles. I’ve purposely not looked as I don’t want to go down the extreme-frugal route again and end up living in a studio apartment; we’ve got a nest egg, we should be able to breath a bit and not be allergic to spending money.

4. Release version 1.0 of my app

Since the beginning of last year I’ve been working on my most ambitious app yet. Without giving too much away, the app combines two of my favourite things; cooking, and frugal shopping. The app is actually quite far along but is extremely complex with user accounts, real-time databases, and backend services, and since moving to Sweden, I’ve not touched it! I’ve set myself the goal of working for at least a few hours a week on the app so I’m hoping that it will be ready for version 1.0 at some point this year.

5. Reach £200k invested and £250k net worth

These figures seemed like a reasonable target. I think it will be pretty hard to achieve the invested target unless I start saving again pretty quickly, we’ll see how the markets behave.


Alright, bring on 2021!!

What goals have you set for the year?

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Savings Report #30 – Goodbye 2020 https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-30-goodbye-2020/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-30-goodbye-2020/#comments Sat, 02 Jan 2021 13:15:01 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503495 This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split...

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This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split my expenses equally with my partner and the savings rate, house equity and house value represent my share only. The spreadsheet calculates my savings rate based off £12,000 worth of expenses per year, even though my expenses are actually Less Than 10k Per Year. This is to create a buffer; I’m aiming for at least 12k to reach financial independence.

Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart


We had another good month of stock market growth, with my funds increasing by roughly 2.5%.

I wonder if we’ll see this growth rise further as the world starts to gets back to normal?

The stock markets levels are already above what they were when we crashed back in March.

I just missed my 200k net worth goal for 2020, boo! But back in July I did sell £8,224 of my Tesla stocks. This cash is still waiting to be reinvested (as part of our Swedish house purchase,) so we will see this re-enter the SavingNinja portfolio as ‘House Equity’ very soon. So maybe I kind of did hit it?

I’m still unsure if I should have a cash section in the spreadsheet, as normally I wouldn’t like to hold very much of it above my normal emergency fund, I also don’t want my normal spending to effect my investment savings reports.

Other News

The SavingNinja family finally got back on the snow over Christmas in northern Sweden. We had fun snowboarding on our new boards, the weather was pretty cold and windy, but Åre really was a winter wonderland.

We’re hoping to get our again in early March!

The trip cost us £763 each for an 8 night stay with 8 days on the slopes, which I think was a pretty good deal as Åre is notorious for being expensive. Here are the cost breakdowns:

  • £850 for 8 nights in an AirBnB with a kitchen, it was right next to the slope (ski in, ski out.)
  • £215 for two return train tickets in first-class (we treated ourselves as it was a 7 hour journey!)
  • £462 for two 8-day lift passes.
  • We cooked and bought booze as we normally would have at home, with one restaurant visit as a treat. (There is nothing like bringing a hip flask of peppermint schnapps up the mountain with you!)

Even though I think that we got a good deal, this was still £1,526 between us which we could have invested in the stock market. It’s still a hard pill to swallow. The cost of lift passes are just crazy, maybe we’ll have to start hiking up the mountain. Although, maybe we should be making the most of it now before we have kids?

Blogging

The site seems to be working pretty well on the Google Developer Console free-tier. I’ll continue to monitor it for a couple more months and if it is still free, I’ll write a guide on how to set up your blogs as well.

I’ve been meaning to update my theme for the last couple of years, I hope 2021 will finally be the year that I get that done!

Sweden

We’ve been here now for 5 months, it is still not really feeling like home. We have committed to staying here for a minimum of 3 years though! And we’re still looking for our first Swedish house to purchase, maybe we’ll start to feel a little more comfortable when we move out of a flat?

I’m also still on my probation at work for 1 more month, even though I’m sure that I’ll pass, there is always a thought at the back of your head whispering that you won’t, so it will be a relief when the first 6 months are over.

It’s still like COVID isn’t really happening over here, although we’ve never experienced life in Sweden pre-pandemic. We still got to go on holiday, everything is still open, the only thing which is frustrating is that my workplace office is still shut.

It helps that we don’t have live TV either, there isn’t much COVID coverage on Netflix 🙂


2020 reviewed is coming up soon! As well as a new set of graphs, the savings spreadsheet will also become international to support my new multi-currency portfolio. I’m planning to have the option to input an array of different currencies and have the spreadsheet automatically look up the exchange rate and convert it into dollars.

How was your Christmas?

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Savings Report #29 – Hacking the Pension System https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-29-hacking-the-pension-system/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-29-hacking-the-pension-system/#comments Mon, 07 Dec 2020 12:54:53 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503473 This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split...

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This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split my expenses equally with my partner and the savings rate, house equity and house value represent my share only. The spreadsheet calculates my savings rate based off £12,000 worth of expenses per year, even though my expenses are actually Less Than 10k Per Year. This is to create a buffer; I’m aiming for at least 12k to reach financial independence.

Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart


What goes down must come up. This seems to be the markets 2020 motto.

After losing £4,200 last month, £15,300 was gained in November!

This push bought my investment portfolio flying over two important targets – over £150k total investments, and over £100k pension investments, pretty cool.

After some more research (it seems incredibly hard to get accurate information in Sweden,) it seems that my Swedish ‘occupational pension’ is theoretically the same as a UK private pension, meaning I can withdraw from it at the age of 55 currently. This means that I can include my Swedish pension savings in these reports, woo!

My employer is paying the equivalent of £1,045 per month into this pension which I’ve set to invest globally via Avanza Global, this seems to be the closest thing to a world weighted passive index fund, so I’ve added £2,090 to the pension contributions this month and I’ll add this each month going forward.

Today I Win…Two Pensions!

Looking at the rules of the Swedish and English pension systems, it seems that they both do not take into account any overseas private pensions. This made me think a little.

Hitting the £100k UK pension figure before the age of 30, some people would suggest that I no longer contribute as I run the risk of hitting the £1m lifetime allowance before I draw from it imposing a *dramatic tone* super-tax.

As I moved to Sweden as soon as I was ‘done’ with my UK pension, I believe this means I can start a new pension pot which will be completely separate from the UK lifetime allowance and affectively go over the normal UK threshold by not rolling my pensions into one.

This is cool! Although there is one problem; Sweden doesn’t have a lifetime allowance, this is mainly due to them having no ‘25% tax free lump sum,’ they’ll also not observe the UK pension tax free lump sum. This probably outweighs all of the benefits of hacking the LTA by moving out of the UK, although it may be beneficial if I end up moving back to the UK – we’ll see.

Getting back on Track

I opened up my first ISK, which stands for Investeringssparkonton. Try and say that after a couple of pints. This is the closest thing Sweden has to a British ISA. It charges a wealth-tax which equates to around 0.375% of the total invested, this gets charged whether the markets rise or tank, which sucks, but is apparently better than paying 30% on any capital gain.

Right now I’m only adding 100 SEK per month, which is the £88 that you see in ‘Other Investments.’ I may separate this out into a different category if/when I begin to contribute more.

Right now the Ninja family are trying to buy a property in Sweden, you can offset things like renovations and mortgage interest from your ludicrously high tax bill over here, and rent is extremely high, so by buying we’ll be able to save a ton more money, and we plan on staying for a minimum of 3 years, so buying definitely works out better.

Due to moving and needing all of the money we can get for the 15% deposit, furniture, and other moving costs, I’ve held off on resuming my normal monthly savings for the time being. As soon as we’ve moved and things have fallen back into a regular routine, I’ll ramp it up again!

Other News

This month I realized that I was being royally ripped off by the web hosting company that SavingNinja used, they were charging me $30 per month, and I’ve been paying this figure for over 2 years, so I began to look for a new hosting solution.

I’ve been working with Google Cloud a lot more in my new job, and so I know how damn cool and capable it is. I’ve also been a Google fan-boy my whole career, AND being a professional engineer, who better to manage hosting SavingNinja than myself?

So, I set to work migrating this website to the Google Cloud platform, and you’re now viewing this blog post from the cloud! And hopefully having a good experience?

Better yet, I’m using Googles Free Tier. So this website is being hosted for free and I’ll save around $360 per year. Why didn’t I do this sooner?

The migration process was smooth and I believe anyone could do it. I had a few outages at the beginning, but now things been have been ironed out everything seems to be stable. I even have server logging, analytics, and daily back-ups being made.

Share Options

Remember when I asked you which share options I should take all the way back in July. Here’s an exciting update with how they’re doing.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that I took 50% ‘Option B’ and 50% ‘Option C,’ the medium and high risk options.

The graph looked like this:

Now, after only 3 months, my stock options are at the 30% growth mark. If they continue to grow like this over the 5 years that they have, we could be looking a very large pay out. It may even mean instant FIRE in 5 years.

Here’s to hoping.

Snowboarding

I still plan on going Snowboarding in the north of Sweden over Christmas. Everything is booked and so far it’s not been cancelled. Remember how sad I was last March when my snowboarding trip to the Swiss alps was cancelled?

This year, myself and Mrs SavingNinja even bought our first ever snowboards, we normally rent, but as we won’t have to pay to travel with snowboards this year due to catching a train instead of a plane, it seemed like the economical choice.

Check them out!

We’re super excited to hit the slopes on our very own boards, it will make this Christmas extra special, which is what we need after this dire 2020. I just hope our trip doesn’t get cancelled again.

How was your month?

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Savings Report #28 – Brick Walls to Climb https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-28-brick-walls-to-climb/ https://thesavingninja.com/savings-report-28-brick-walls-to-climb/#comments Fri, 06 Nov 2020 08:20:12 +0000 http://thesavingninja.com/?p=503455 This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split...

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This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split my expenses equally with my partner and the savings rate, house equity and house value represent my share only. The spreadsheet calculates my savings rate based off £12,000 worth of expenses per year, even though my expenses are actually Less Than 10k Per Year. This is to create a buffer; I’m aiming for at least 12k to reach financial independence.

Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart


The markets are tanking again!

And this time I don’t have my own contributions propping my numbers up, so I’m feeling the full wrath of seeing my net worth drop month after month.

There is so much uncertainty right now with Brexit and the presidential election that I feel this turbulence will only get worse.

I did actually try to open my first investment account in Sweden this week to try and invest a bit whilst the market had dropped, but, as with everything in Sweden, there is no accessibility for English-only speakers, all we have are badly translated Swedish websites (I don’t understand why as more than half the people in Stockholm don’t speak Swedish, but almost everyone speaks English.)

This resulted in my opening a Nordnet account and only realising afterwards that they seem to want an 0.8% fee to buy into a Vanguard ETF domiciled in Ireland; by the way, Sweden have a stupid rule which bans Swedes from investing in US funds… WTF? You have to buy Swedish-only funds, or ones domiciled in the EU…

So, the only way to buy into Vanguard is via an ETF which tracks a Vanguard index that is listed in Germany or Ireland. BUT these have higher brokerage fees. Is taking 60% of my income and charging 25% VAT, not enough for you Sweden, you have to ban Vanguard too?

Anyway, watch this space, I should hopefully begin investing again by the next savings report, even if I have to pay extortionate fees.

The Swedish Pension is Rubbish

I found out that my employer pays roughly £1,100 per month into my Swedish private pension. This is cool, I thought. I even went as far as to include it in this savings report, but then I removed it when I found out that you can’t access your Swedish private pension until the age of around 68 (and it’s being extended.)

This makes it worse than the UK State pension, so I’ll not be considering it in my savings just like I exclude the UK state pension, as it’s simply too far away. From what I’ve experienced with the Swedish tax agency so far, I’d have less faith in this being around than the UK state pension when I reach that age.

New York

In other news, I’m working closely with my New York counterparts at work and it seems that if I wanted to, there is a high possibility of relocating to New York in a year or so. I don’t want to throw Sweden out of the window just yet, but as the US was always my initial goal; and I am kind of money-focused; this is something that we’ll seriously have to consider if the opportunity came about.

Premium Bonds Locked Away

I tried to withdraw my premium bonds this week as this will be a house deposit for Sweden and I wanted to change the currency into Swedish Krona before Brexit. They needed my phone number to confirm the withdrawal which I no longer have access to, this required them to send a temporary password, to my old address.

Now I have to go through the effort of requesting a withdrawal via post. Such a pain! I just hope that I don’t get blocked when trying to move this money out of my UK bank account and into a Swedish one, as I won’t be able to ‘pop into a branch’ like they normally require you to do.

Other News

Stockholm has increased some COVID rules, although nothing like the UK. The Swedish authorities tend to ‘lightly suggest’ rather than enforce rules. I just hope our Swedish snowboarding holiday over Christmas won’t be effected as we already had our Swiss snowboarding holiday taken away from us last March.

Work is going well. 3 months left until my probationary period ends, I’ve had good feedback so far. I’m working with some extremely talented people from Google and all over the world, I’ve not actually met any other British people yet!

Making friends with people from Uruguay, Brazil, Iran, Armenia, to name a few, is very eye-opening; we’ve already gone to 2 house warming parties and tasted cuisine from countries we had never even heard of before. Stockholm, and specifically my company, is the most internationally mixed I’ve ever been, and it’s great! Also, more than half of my colleagues are women, and the amount of female programmers I’ve worked with in the past can be counted on one of my hands; my company really has their pick of the bunch!

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